Studio manager highjacks government NHS posters to promote exercise – creates viral sensation
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Studio manager highjacks government NHS posters to promote exercise – creates viral sensation

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I decided to do my bit and to come up with some alternative messaging which would highlight the merits of physical activity

A set of posters created by a Fitness studio manager, mimicking the government's COVID-19 NHS messaging, have gone viral on LinkedIn.

The posters, carrying the message of "exercise – Protect the NHS" were created by Daniel Ward, a qualified PT who works as a studio manager at an F45 franchise in Milton Keynes.

Ward had been using the lockdown to hone his Photoshop skills and, once it became clear to him that the government's attitude towards the gym sector had "left something to be desired", he decided to put his newly-acquired skills to use.

"I first realised that we might have a problem when the government published its very first list of sectors, alongside a schedule of when they might return – and fitness and gyms weren't even on it," Ward told HCM in an exclusive interview.

"While gyms were added to subsequent tables, I was further frustrated by the 'pubs before gyms' debacle around the 4 July reopenings.

"It was disappointing to witness pubs and restaurants being given the green light before fitness – especially as research from the US-based CDC shows that people suffering from obesity, heart conditions and diabetes are at a higher risk from COVID-19, all are conditions which exercise can reduce.

"So I decided to do my bit and to come up with some alternative messaging which would highlight the merits of physical activity."

Ward began searching the NHS website and official government sites for figures and facts around the benefits of exercise.

After choosing some headline numbers, he created the posters to look like the ones used at the government's daily briefings.

"I agree with the government that the NHS needs protecting," Ward says. "And exercise can help do that by keeping people fit and healthy. During my 16-year career in fitness I've seen it with my own eyes.

"And it's not just physical health that the sector can help with either. I know plenty of people who use exercise to improve their mental health – and there are studies that back up that.

"One of the numbers I found was that physical activity and exercise can cut NHS spending on mental health by 30 per cent. When you consider that mental health spending by the NHS in England alone accounted for £12.2bn in 2018-19, it's not a small amount."

Ward adds that it is clear that the industry agrees with the sentiment in his posters.

"It only took a few days for my posters to receive 6,000+ views, more than a hundred shares and countless likes," he says – and adds that he would be happy for any gym or operator to use his artwork.

"I'd be 100 per cent happy for any gym or club to use the posters.

"I think now, during the pandemic, people are psychologically ready to commit to healthier lifestyles – and that includes physical activity. So it could be a way to highlight some of the advantages of keeping fit."

CLICK HERE TO OPEN AND SAVE THE IMAGES FOR USE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

The posters are as follows:

EXERCISE > UP TO A 50% LOWER RISK OF TYPE 2 DIABETES > PROTECT THE NHS

EXERCISE > UP TO A 35% LOWER RISK OF CORONARY HEART DISEASE AND STROKE > PROTECT THE NHS

EXERCISE > A 30% LOWER RISK OF EARLY DEATH > PROTECT THE NHS

EXERCISE > UP TO A 50% LOWER RISK OF COLON CANCER > PROTECT THE NHS

EXERCISE > UP TO A 83% LOWER RISK OF OSTEOARTHRITIS > PROTECT THE NHS

EXERCISE > UP TO A 30% LOWER RISK OF DEPRESSION > PROTECT THE NHS

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A set of posters created by a fitness studio manager, mimicking the government's COVID- 19 NHS messaging, have gone viral on LinkedIn.
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